Financial issues are one of the top reasons cited for divorce in the United States, and that’s a very sad thing. After all, money should just be the tool we use to reach our goals together, not the wedge that drives us apart. Re-focusing on some solid, defined goals always helps; it keeps one partner from feeling like the money police while the other feels controlled. Whether your goal is saving for a wedding, house, car, vacation or children, you’re more likely to meet it if you sit down as a couple and really focus on what you want and how you’ll get there.
Talk to Each Other
Most importantly, talk to each other. A lot. Every step of the way, in fact. First, you have to agree on the goal. If one of you is saving money with a family in mind and the other is thinking of kids after a fabulous European vacation, you’re set up for disaster.
Even if you agree on the goal, you still need to talk about the time frame. One of you may feel strongly about buying a house as soon as you can save a down payment; the other partner may want a house just as much, but they want to wait until they have a better job or have completed some higher education. You have to come to an agreement, or you’ll both end up frustrated.
Finally, you need to agree on the budget. One partner may be the soul of frugality and be prepared to put every available penny towards saving for your goal, while the other wants to live a little during the saving process. You need to have a goal-saving amount you both agree on, as well as a budget for “fun money” you both agree on.
Talk to Family and Friends Who Have Been There
Once you have your goals clearly worked out as a couple, talk to your family and friends about the goal, whether it’s saving to start a family, buy a house or take a vacation. What pitfalls did they run into? Did they spend years saving for a house only to discover that their credit was lousy, putting a home purchase on hold? Or maybe they scheduled a dream vacation and then forgot to get their passports, causing a rush order, extra expenditure and extra stress? Any tips you can get from them could save you heartache down the road.
Do Your Research
Don’t just really on word of mouth, make sure you do your own research. Let’s say you’re saving for a house. You could forget to factor home insurance into your budget, for example. Once you realize your omission, get online, compare home insurance quotes, and add a reasonable house insurance estimate to your budget. And don’t forget to keep your partner up to speed on any changes.
Talk to Experts
Anytime you’re setting a big goal, it’s wise to talk to an expert. Starting to save for retirement or your baby’s college education? Get informed on the best way to save that money for the long term. Want to buy a house? Go into the bank when you start saving and have a chat about what their requirements are. Then you won’t spend years saving money only to realize that you have too much other debt or credit that’s not good enough to get the loan you want.
The best part about so deliberately setting goals this way is that it puts you and your partner side by side, dreaming and building your lives together instead of bickering. Cheer each other on and talk, talk, talk. You’ll be on your way to reaching your goal in no time.
Financial Goal Setting for Couples is a guest post by Sabrina at Home Insurance Comparison.